Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Inversions

After a very long flu-imposed hiatus, I have been doing a little bit of yoga. I took a three weekend class for beginners who are interested in preparing to take intermediate classes. I have long understood that I am not actually advanced enough to take the crazy yoga flow 2 classes that I am so fond of at Laughing Lotus. I fall a lot. A lot compared to the rest of the class.

After taking the weekend sessions I have a clearer sense of why that is. I had thought that I was not flexible enough and that my gut was getting in my way. These things do factor in. But additionally, as CK pointed out to me, I am not strong enough yet for a lot of this stuff. My core, my back, my legs, my arms.

Strength comes through more practice and maybe a more diverse program of practice with a variety of different teachers and on my own.

Yesterday, I was in a class in which we did handstands. We did a handstand prep in the middle of the floor. Downward dog, walk your feet in, lift one leg and then kick that leg up. And, I had this moment, where I felt it. I was there. Only one leg, but I was there. I think I even squealed a little. At which point I flopped back down. Close but no stand. It felt qualitatively different from all the times that I had huffed and hopped and kicked and kicked. I felt close. So close that a part of me was kicking myself and asking why I didn't just go with it. Why did I have to sabotage myself like that? While the rest of me was captivated by that feeling. It was like I had kicked up my leg and thrown myself into the great unknown. And the great unknown was there to catch me.

Then we did this exercise where we run up to the wall, using the momentum to throw ourselves into handstand. Which again, I could barely do. I threw myself and at one point found that I had the right half of my body pressed right up against the wall and the left side of me hanging out in the air. In trying to pull myself away from the wall, I crumpled into a little mass of me. It was no fluke, I did this twice the second time during an exercise in which we did handstand on blocks. Same thing, I crumpled.

Part of it was being in a panic at being upside down. Part of it was that I was so disoriented in that upside down state that my brain could not figure out which limbs to control to accomplish the handstand proper.

I need to practice more and get stronger so that one of these days when I throw myself into the great unknown, it will catch me, and I will allow it to hold me.

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